Anglican Morning Devotion for 24 April 2021 A.D.,
A Ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Worldwide Communion
“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1Peter 5:2-7; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
To possess knowledge and wisdom in humility is the sum of Godliness in the minister of God. The text, taken from the Lectionary Epistle for today, reveals a number of stark characteristics to which we should all aspire as Christians – both lay and ordained.
No man is permitted to minister lawfully in the Church unless possessed of the above attributes. The calling of God to preach must meet three prerequisites: 1) that God had called the man; 2) that the man possesses a certainty that he is called of God; and 3) that the Church recognizes the Call in the man’s life. This is consistent with the 23rd Article of Religion:
ARTICLE XXIII of the Articles of Religion of the Reformation Church of England:
It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of publick preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have publick authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord’s vineyard.
- TAKE OVERSIGHT: Just as Adam was given dominion over the care of the creatures that God created in love; so, must the learned, called of God, take oversight of those who lack knowledge and understanding of His Word to teach them. That duty is fulfilled in love and not by force.
- NOT FOR FILTHY LUCRE: If the motivation to serve is not vocational, but occupational for profit, the man is not called to the ministry of God regardless the acclaim of the Church. Most ministers appealing to us for ordination come with first questions of salary, benefits, and fare lodgings – not desire to serve.
- EXERCISE AUTHORITY IN HUMILITY: “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” There is no such thing as a Godly dictator or despot. When love rules in the spirit of the disciple, force and coercion can never be part of the equation of service. Godly discipline and teaching is exercised in love and impartial judgment based on God’s Word AND
- YOUTH SHOULD RESPECT THE ELDER: There was a time, still extant in the Christian heritage of America’s past, in which ‘yes, sir’ and ‘no ma’am’ were characteristic expressions of respect of youth for those of greater age. That respect still exists in our land, but to a diminishing circle. “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.” Decent society is not possible without respect of others.
- BE SUBJECT ONE TO ANOTHER: This is important in marriage as well as society in general. This quality is summarized in the 2nd half of the Great Commandment: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Matthew 22:39
- BE CLOTHED WITH HUMILITY: a besetting sin of many ministers and disciples (laypersons) emerge from the very success of their Godly service. Too many are lifted up in pride when many souls are reached through their ministry. They tend to forget that it is only God that saves and not man. They have not saved a single soul, but sown the seeds whereby fruit may arise, and pride places them in jeopardy of losing their own souls. Let the wise beware of this fault.
- CASTING ALL CARES UPON HIM: simple counsel yet disregarded to the despair of many. We tend to trust God only so far. When a great heartache or danger arises, many panic contrary to the benefits of faith. “. . . . greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
A word to the wise is sufficient.